Funny stories... tales from the road... life with us.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Five Days Until Xmas!

I can't believe that Christmas is in five days. The weather has been entirely too warm, and it doesn't even seem like it's winter outside.

We have most of our holiday shopping finished, and nearly all wrapped. There are a few stragglers, but we are getting there!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Scored a mildly good deal this morning

Toys R Us is running a 12 days of Christmas secret sale promotion right now where they e-mail you coupons every day good only for that day. I heard through the grapevine that Final Fantasy III (Nintendo DS) and Final Fantasy XII (Playstation 2) would be on sale today for half price via this sale. So they'd be $20 and $25 respectively.

This morning I checked my e-mail and did receive the coupons so to give myself the best chance of landing this pretty nice price, I hit TRU on my way to work. (They are opening at 8AM for the Christmas shopping season.) I always get a nice little rush when I'm on the hunt for a bargain, which is really a lot of the fun after all! At the light for the shopping center there were 5 or 6 cars in front of me so I imagined they were all going to pull into spots in front of TRU alongside me and we'd all be in a mad dash for the electronics section. But as it turned out there was just one other lady calmly walking towards the door with me and she wasn't even headed to the video games. They had several copies of each game behind the counter and I scored one of each.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Amazing dinner last night

Yesterday evening we had Jeremy and Nicole over to our place for dinner. We all had a great time and K threw together an amazing meal.

First we had a feta and walnut dip with roasted garlic on the side paired with wedges of pita bread. This might not seem like something typically in my wheelhouse, but it was really good. Also popped open a bottle of Our Dog Blue from Chateau Morrisette, K's parents favorite winery.

Following that we had a delicious salad (awesome cherry tomatoes with simple mixed greens) followed by cheese fondue with a side of potatoes for a main course. The potatoes were great, roasted with a little salt and pepper and tossed with some minced garlic and fresh rosemary to finish them off. Yum! We used our new knives (wedding gift from Grandma!) for most of the prep. Those things are awesome. (Henckels Pro 'S' series if anyone is interested.)

K picked up premixed fondue from Wegman's that we just dumped in a pot to melt and then in our fondue pot to keep melty while we ate. I wasn't sure what to expect from pre-packaged fondue, but it was amazing. We had chopped up apple, two kinds of bread, carrots, and cremini mushrooms for dipping. The mushrooms were sauteed in a little butter and olive oil just to soften them up prior to dipping. My mouth is watering just thinking back to it! The best part is we have some left over to have another night this week.

K even had some sugar snap peas to have along with all of the fondue and potatoes, but we decided that was just too much food!

Finally K had whipped up little mini chocolate cakes with peppermint cream and rasberries for dessert. Quite an impressive spread!

AJ (our cat) was her usual charming self. She immediately walked right up to Jeremy and Nicole and won them over. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they are cat people, owning two kittens. AJ can be a little skittish when she is away from home, but on her own turf she can be very friendly with strangers.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Let's Get Organized!

Rob and I cleaned out our office tonight. It had become a terrible dumping ground for everything that didn't have a home, and I was sick of it. It was nearly impossible to even walk in there!

A good part of the clutter on the floor is leftover wedding stuff .... programs, cards from gifts, etc. I went through it, pulled out what I needed to keep, and junked the rest. It feels good to be getting organized!

Rob took command of the computer desk and shelf, clearing off the clutter and pulling it together. I even convinced him to keep all of the extra cords in a lovely Longaberger basket! :)

It's important to me to have a clean house, and Rob and I don't always agree on what constitutes "clean"... I guess everyone interprets things differently. I looooove organization, clean floors and an untouched coffee table that isn't always pulled up to the couch. We're working on it.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Lowes in-store pickup leaves something to be desired

So I ordred a Dremel multi-tool from Lowes yesterday and selected in store pickup at my local store. First thing that is a little unsettling - the store itself doesn't e-mail you to confirm they have the item ready, you are referred to a pickup schedule which basically tells you the item will be waiting 2 hours after you get the order confirmation e-mail. This didn't fill me with confidence, so I waited a full day before heading over.

The item was waiting for me, but the customer service lady didn't actually ask to see my photo ID or the credit card used to make the purchase like the site indicated. Instead she just asked for my phone number, had a guy bring it out from the back, printed out a sheet, and had me sign it. So if you know the phone number of someone who makes an online in-store pick up order at Lowes, just head over and help yourself!

A bonus is that the security alarm went off when I left the store. Just a few days ago K and I saw that happen at Tower Records and the guy of course looked around all bewildered for an employee to check his receipt and/or tell him to just go through. I told K something along the lines of "You don't need to stop just because some machine starts beeping at you. If an employee asked me to stop I would, but I'm not some animal trained to sit at the sound of a buzzer." So I got to put that in practice today as I didn't even break stride on the way out the door to my car. It's the little things, really. (I imagined a few old ladies gasping and pointing, but that's probably just wishful thinking.)

But the big news here is I finally have a Dremel multi-tool! Now I just need to figure out what I want to do with it... Maybe I could "customize" K's Longaberger?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Date Night!

Rob and I just got home from an unexpected date night! He suggested we head out to dinner at Baja (dinner for two for $13 ... can't beat it) and then wander around the closing Tower Records. We had a great time just spending some time together. I am thankful for my sweet husband. :)

We had planned to use a BOGO coupon at Coldstone Creamery after dinner, but they were already closed. Next time!

We are lucky to have a bunch of good, inexpensive restaurant options pretty close to our house. And now there is a Five Guys opening up in the same shopping plaza as Baja ... a great place for a burger and fresh-cut fries.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

That old guy is funny

At breakfast 0n Friday I spied an older gentleman wearing a shirt with the slogan "Eat well, stay fit, die anyway." Thought that was a very funny shirt for an older guy to wear. I bet he has a pretty sharp wit.

We were at the Ponderosa with the rest of K's immediate family. I didn't get up to do any shopping black Friday, but K, her mom, and her sister-in-law all braved the early morning crowds. I actually managed to pick up most of what I wanted online.

But, I'll let K expound on the Thanksgiving doings.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

PS3s on eBay

The bottom fell out of the PS3 market on eBay much faster than I expected. Don't get me wrong, you'd still make a decent profit, but it looks like the hopes of $1K profit margins is already a memory. I didn't manage to snag one myself - actually didn't even try - but have been keeping tabs on the closing prices over the past day or two.

Yesterday afternoon a few were selling with a BIN at $3K, some at $2500 BIN, and many at $2K BIN.

That evening I still saw a few $2500 BIN, some $2k BINs, but no $3K BINs selling. And straight auctions (listings that started low and were bid where they got bid) were going for less than $1500.

This morning I looked at the last 50+ ended listings and the only one that cracked $1200 by more than a couple dollars had 8 games bundled with it.

The lesson here seems to be:

  1. List a hot item that everyone and their brother is going to dump on eBay as soon as you possibly can.
  2. Use a fixed price listing with a competitive price.
  3. Require immediate payment to avoid a non-paying bidder and a ton of lost profit.
I thought the prices would stay at least through the weekend if not all the way until Xmas.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I'm back, too!

Since only Rob has made entries onto the blog, I thought it was due time I did one too.

All is well with married life! We are having a lot of fun and getting all the kinks worked out of combining everything. Can't believe we've been married now for 105 days! (Not that I'm counting - I looked at our Knot page and it has a tally.)

First holidays as a married couple are right around the bend. We've decided to stay with my folks at Thanksgiving, and his at Xmas. And since our families only live about 10 minues apart, it'll be easy to see everyone.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wow, talk about an impatient buyer

Sold a few things on eBay this week and I generally get stuff in the mail the day after payment is made with PayPal Shipping (which e-mails the buyer a tracking number automatically) so I avoid pretty much any annoyed e-mails from buyers wondering what's going on with their item.

But today I had a buyer e-mail me about a game they won and paid for yesterday evening asking if it had been mailed yet! Wow, talk about a demanding buyer! I had mailed it, but I guess they don't check their PayPal e-mail address? Whatever. Luckily it went first class, so they should have it Saturday or Monday at the latest. I can only imagine the headaches if this is something that went Media Mail and it took longer than a week in transit.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

So apparently we have NO snow removal contract...

K just found out that our community apparently has no snow removal contract for this coming winter. WTF! We pay a ridiculous amount of money every quarter to a property management company and they are supposed to handle having all of this stuff lined up. I'm pretty furious about this.

K got an e-mail from one of the member's of the board and he is asking for an emergency meeting with our contact at the management company. Basically if this isn't resolved by the weekend I'm thinking K and I may go door to door handing out short to the point notices explaining the situation with the management guy's e-mail and contact number.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

An enjoyable weekend

Carrie and Matt joined us for church Sunday morning and then we hit Trader Joe's on their way home. Very enjoyable weekend!

K and I went into TJ's saying 'well we don't need much stuff' and ended up buying $50 worth of groceries! But there wasn't much junk mixed in. One of the things we picked up are TJ brand garlic and cheese pork sausages. (Raw sausage in casing, not pre-cooked.) We had them for dinner and they were excellent. K did a great job cooking them up! Another thing we picked up is a carne asada marinated hunk of beef. Might end up having that this evening, not sure.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

My sister and brother-in-law came down for a visit this weekend. We didn't have much in the way of big plans, but decided to check out the National Zoo today as well as hit a few places Matt and Carrie wanted to take in.

We saw the giant pandas and some funny orangutans. Actually pretty much every animal at the zoo was out and gawkable. I think my favorite was the massive hippo completely submerged at the edge of his indoor pool. He had his head propped on some curved tubing so he didn't have to expend any energy holding it up!

So the zoo was fun and after that we had pizza at a place I've been wanting to try for years, Vace! I mostly lurk at a Maryland Terps board and a few posters have mentioned this place near the zoo as having the best pizza in the DC area. I have to say it was awesome. We had managed to park right in front of the place and after buying a couple slices we walked a half block or so down to a bridge and grabbed a spot on a bench to gnosh. After the slices we cracked out a couple bricks of rice crispie treats that Carrie had brought down with her. Excellent!

We capped off the day with P.F. Chang's followed by a batch of cookies at home. I mix up large batches of cookies and then freeze out the dough pre-scooped into ready to bake mounds. The cookie recipes in The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook give specialized directions for doing this and it works out great!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

R and is finally back up

Don't know if anyone noticed, but the domain was down for quite some time. We've switched things to route to a blog through our registrar for the time being and are in the process of finding a host.

As you can see all of the old content is gone (but it is backed up - it just won't be back online until we find a new host.)

Anyone know of a cheap, reliable host that offers PHP, mySQL, and possibly support for hosting multiple domains on one account?